So while I was in Roanoke doing some other stuff, I decided to swing by and see Speed Racer tonight to check it out (OK, I would have gone to see it even if I didn’t go to Roanoke). As I tried to think of a good title for this post it hit me: I’ll talk about the good things about the movie, the bad things about the movie, and the ugly things.
And just a note: I haven’t seen the TV series so I can’t say whether the movie does it justice or how well it feels like it. I am sort-of familiar with some of the characters, so I wasn’t going in completely blind.
First, lets start off with the good part. I think contrary to most reviews of this movie, there was indeed a plot, and it was clearly apparent to me what it was. Was it necessarily a deep plot? No. But then again, how many big summer movies actually do have deep plots? And it’s about auto racing. How many deep plots about automobile racing can one come up with? It’s like going into a McDonalds, and then faulting it for not being a 5-star restaurant.
Second, yes it was quite flashy, but I think once I settled into the universe that the movie existed in, all the colors and flashyness didn’t really bother me. Sure, it’s not something you see every day, but it’s kind of like a Pixar movie except with live people playing the characters. Critics seemed to pan this idea as automatically bad, I’m not sure why.
Third, and perhaps most importantly of all, I found it entertaining. I wasn’t crying out of boredom like most of the reviewers seemed to be. I thought the races were exciting, even if they did blatantly violate the law of physics (again, people don’t seem to care about such things in other movies too much). Also, it got in some good lines which got quite a bit of laughs as well.
Finally, the kids in the theater seemed to love it.
This isn’t so much “the bad” as it is the “this may not play well for some audiences.” Perhaps my main concern was that the specifics of the plot may be hard to follow, especially for those who are younger, which may be a problem since the movie is largely aimed towards a younger audience. There were many instances were something happened, and after it did, I kind of considered myself lucky to catch it. I’m sure other people didn’t as some things were easy to miss, but which might cause some confusion if you did miss them.
Second, the movie is, admittedly, kind of hokie. I kind of new that going in, so I sort of new what to expect, but it may turn off some audiences. It’s not that the acting is bad, but I think sometimes they had a tendency to over act (which I’m sure is on purpose), which if you think about it, kind of goes along with the rest of the movie anyway.
Third, while the racing scenes were pretty cool, one may almost get dizzy switching from this view or another. It was pretty cool effects, but sometimes before you knew what you were looking at, you were already looking at the next shot. I don’t think it was too bad, but it might be distracting for some.
The only really ugly part wasn’t part of the movie at all – it was the crowd at the movie. As in the number of people who went to see it. Admittedly, one screening of it started a half hour before the one I saw, but the theater was pretty empty – I’m not even sure a quarter of the seats were filled. The people who were there seemed to pretty universally like the movie based on their reactions, it’s just there weren’t that many people there. If this theater is like most of the other theaters, we’re not going to be seeing very high numbers for this movie come Monday, unfortunately
One final note, I guess this shouldn’t be surprising, but you can definitely tell the Wachowski made this movie, so if you don’t like the styling of the Matrix, you may not like the styling of this either. I personally liked it, but that’s just me.